BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuHyperventilationRapid deep breathing; Breathing - rapid and deep; Overbreathing; Fast deep breathing; Respiratory rate - rapid and deep; Hyperventilation syndrome; Panic attack - hyperventilation; Anxiety - hyperventilationHyperventilation is rapid and deep breathing. It is also called overbreathing, and it may leave you feeling breathless. Considerations You breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Excessive breathing creates a low level of carbon dioxide in your blood. This causes many of the symptoms of hyperventilation.You may hyperventilate from an emotional cause such as during a panic attack. Or, it can be due to a medical problem, such as bleeding or infection.PanicPanic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder in which you have repeated attacks of intense fear that something bad will happen.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Your health care provider will determine the cause of your hyperventilation. Rapid breathing may be a medical emergency and you need to get treated, unless you have had this before and your provider has told you that you can treat it on your own.If you frequently overbreathe, you may have a medical problem called hyperventilation syndrome.When you're overbreathing, you might not be aware you're breathing fast and deep. But you'll likely be aware of the other symptoms, including:Feeling lightheaded, dizzy, weak, or not able to think straight Feeling as if you can't catch your breath Chest pain or fast and pounding heartbeat Belching or bloating Dry mouth Muscle spasms in the hands and feet Numbness and tingling in the arms or around the mouth Problems sleeping Causes Emotional causes include:Anxiety and nervousness AnxietyStress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stres...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Panic attack Situations where there is a psychological advantage in having a sudden, dramatic illness (for example, somatization disorder) Somatization disorderSomatic symptom disorder (SSD) occurs when a person feels extreme, exaggerated anxiety about physical symptoms. The person has such intense thoughts...Read Article Now Book Mark Article StressStressStress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stres...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Medical causes include:Bleeding Heart problem such as heart failure or heart attack Heart failureHeart failure is a condition in which the heart is no longer able to pump oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body efficiently. This causes symptom...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Drugs (such as an aspirin overdose) Aspirin overdoseAspirin is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to relieve mild to moderate aches and pains, swelling, and fever. Aspirin overdose occu...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Infection such as pneumonia or sepsis PneumoniaPneumonia is a breathing (respiratory) condition in which there is an infection of the lung. This article covers community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). ...Read Article Now Book Mark Article SepsisSepsis is an illness in which the body has a severe, inflammatory response to bacteria or other germs.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Ketoacidosis and similar medical conditions KetoacidosisDiabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life-threatening problem that affects people with diabetes. It occurs when the body starts breaking down fat at a r...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Lung disease such as asthma, COPD, or pulmonary embolism AsthmaAsthma is a chronic disease that causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow. It leads to breathing difficulty such as wheezing, shortness o...Read Article Now Book Mark Article COPDChronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common lung disease. Having COPD makes it hard to breathe. There are two main forms of COPD:Chroni...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Pulmonary embolismA pulmonary embolus is a blockage of an artery in the lungs. The most common cause of the blockage is a blood clot.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Pregnancy Severe pain Stimulant medicinesStimulantStimulants are drugs that increase your heart rate, breathing rate, and brain function. Some stimulants affect only a specific organ, such as the he...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Home Care Your provider will examine you for other causes of your overbreathing.If your provider has said your hyperventilation is due to anxiety, stress, or panic, there are steps you can take at home. You, your friends, and family can learn techniques to stop it from happening and prevent future attacks.If you start hyperventilating, the goal is to raise the carbon dioxide level in your blood. This will end most of your symptoms. Ways to do this include:Get reassurance from a friend or family member to help relax your breathing. Words like "you are doing fine," "you are not having a heart attack," and "you are not going to die" are very helpful. It's very important that the person stays calm and uses a soft, relaxed tone. To help get rid of carbon dioxide, learn to do pursed lip breathing. This is done by puckering your lips as if you're blowing out a candle, then breathing out slowly through your lips.Pursed lip breathingPursed lip breathing helps you use less energy to breathe. It can help you relax. When you are short of breath, it helps you slow the pace of your ...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Over the long term, measures to help you stop overbreathing include: If you have been diagnosed with anxiety or panic, see a mental health professional to help you understand and treat your condition. Learn breathing exercises that help you relax and breathe from your diaphragm and abdomen, rather than from your chest wall. Practice relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation or meditation. Exercise regularly. If these methods alone don't prevent overbreathing, your provider may recommend medicine. When to Contact a Medical Professional Call your provider if:You are having rapid breathing for the first time. This is a medical emergency and you should be taken to the emergency room right away. You are in pain, have a fever, or are bleeding. Your hyperventilation continues or gets worse, even with home treatment. You also have other symptoms. What to Expect at Your Office Visit Your provider will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms.Physical examDuring a physical examination, a health care provider studies your body to determine if you do or do not have a physical problem. A physical examinat...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Your breathing will also be checked. If you are not breathing quickly at the time, the provider may try to cause hyperventilation by telling you to breathe in a certain way. The provider will then watch how you breathe and check which muscles you're using to breathe.Tests that may be ordered include: Blood tests for the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in your blood Chest CT scan Chest CT scanA chest CT (computed tomography) scan is an imaging method that uses x-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the chest and upper abdomen....Read Article Now Book Mark Article ECG to check your heart ECGAn electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test that records the electrical activity of the heart.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Ventilation/perfusion scan of your lungs to measure breathing and lung circulation Ventilation/perfusion scanA pulmonary ventilation/perfusion scan involves two nuclear scan tests to measure breathing (ventilation) and circulation (perfusion) in all areas of...Read Article Now Book Mark Article X-rays of the chestX-rays of the chestA chest x-ray is an x-ray of the chest, lungs, heart, large arteries, ribs, and diaphragm.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Open ReferencesReferencesBraithwaite SA, Perina D. Dyspnea. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 22.Schwartzstein RM, Adams L. Dyspnea. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 29.AllVideoImagesTogRelated Information Rapid shallow breathing(Symptoms) Review Date: 8/13/2020 Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. 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